Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Uses for coconut and olive oils outside the kitchen.

As I become more invested in eliminating unnecessary and unhealthy chemicals and toxins from my home and life, I've discovered that some of the things I use in the kitchen have uses outside the cooking arena.

Case in point: oils. Specifically, coconut oil and olive oil.

I use extra virgin olive oil for cooking nearly everyday, as many people do (for sauteing veggies, pan-cooking meat, marinades, sauces, keeping your spaghetti from forming a huge nasty clump, etc.). I'll spare you a boring lecture about it's extensive health benefits (read more here), but here's the lowdown: extra virgin olive oil has loads of antioxidants, which means it can help find cancer; ingesting EVOO benefits your heart, bones, and digestive tract; and, this unique oil has anti-inflammatory properties. 

Not to mention that olive oil is a great moisturizer! I first used EVOO outside the confines of my kitchen when I made my first batch of homemade sugar scrub. I mixed the oil with sugar and essential oil drops to create an amazing body scrub that not only removes dead skin but also softens and moisturizes. Why spend tons of money on sugar scrub when you can make your own for a couple bucks and you know exactly what's going into it? I gave this scrub away to two of my childhood friends when they graduated from college as gifts and they both really enjoyed it.

My favorite unconventional use for EVOO, though, is as an eye makeup remover.

You read that right. Eye makeup remover, friends.

EVOO is the gentlest and most moisturizing eye makeup remover I have ever used. Ever. I can't imagine using a store brand makeup remover packed with fillers, chemicals, and ingredients I can't pronounce. Olive oil easily takes away eyeshadow, mascara, eyeliner, and eye primer in one swipe. I keep a glass bottle full of olive oil on my bathroom counter. I simple pour a bit onto tissue or cotton, gently press it against my closed eye for a few seconds, and then wipe all the makeup away. (Please be gentle on this area! Forceful tugging can create premature wrinkles and damage your skin.)

The oil will, in no way, make you break out if you're only using it around your eyes. The pores in the skin around your eyes are incredibly small, and the oil does not clog your pores, anyway.

Extra benefits: I've noticed that the delicate skin around my eyes is soft and hydrated, the natural bags under my eyes (they're genetic...my Papa makes them look dashing; mine however, make me look old and tired...) are not as puffy and irritated as they were when I used other makeup remover products, AND my eyelashes look and feel stronger and longer. What are you waiting for?! Go get your EVOO bottle and try this out.

I've only recently started using coconut oil in baking and cooking. Last month, I picked up a jar of Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil (*no, Spectrum is NOT sponsoring this post*). The contents are solid until warmed. When I made my first batch of whole wheat bread, I melted a bit of coconut oil to grease the loaf pans, which worked really nicely. I have read, however, a lot of blog posts and seen many Pins about using coconut oil for health and beauty purposes as it has lots of antioxidants as well an anti-bacterial and moisturizing properties.

Last night, I used coconut oil as a hair mask for the first time. My hair is just past my shoulders, so I scooped about a tablespoon of solid coconut oil from the jar. It easily melted in my hand. I spread the oil first at the ends of my hair first. When the ends were saturated, I used the rest of the oil in my hand to coat the rest of my hair, using very little at the roots.

I then braided my hair and slept with the oil in it over night. This morning, I shampooed and conditioned as usual. It washed out easily, in case you were worried about that.

Benefits: My hair is so manageable, soft, and shiny today! I have quite fine hair, and there's a lot if it, so usually my hair is in tangles before I even get to my car in the morning. Not today, friends! My hair isn't knotted at all and it's lunch time. I don't think that's ever happened to me. The ends of my hair look and feel so hydrated, and my hair looks really healthy! I will absolutely be using coconut oil as a regular hair mask.

I hope today's post gave you some ideas about ways you can use oils for health and beauty :)

Leave a comment about the unconventional ways you use olive and coconut oils (or other types, too!).